Anti-asbestos activist Eric Jonckheere and Patrick J. Morrison, career firefighter and advocate for the health and wellness of firefighters, will serve as keynote speakers for the upcoming Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization’s 14th Annual International Asbestos Awareness and Prevention Conference in Washington, D.C.
The conference will take place April 13-15 following Global Asbestos Awareness Week. The event features experts, patients, lawmakers and more who come together to increases awareness of the dangers of asbestos.
“The 2018 conference will recognize leaders in the media, health and safety community, and government agencies whose voices and actions have been critically important to ending the manmade asbestos disaster,” said ADAO Co-founder and President Linda Reinstein. “This year’s experts will once again join together to advocate for the urgent need to secure a global asbestos ban because otherwise no one is safe from the devastation caused by this human carcinogen.”
Eric Jonckheere, keynote speaker for Saturday’s luncheon, became an anti-asbestos activist after seeing firsthand the pain asbestos-related diseases can cause families. He grew up in Kapelle, Belgium, just north of Brussels. The entire village suffers from asbestos exposure because of plants that operate there; his family was devastated because of it. His father died from mesothelioma in 1987 at the age of 59. Then his mother, Francoise, and brothers Pierre-Paul and Stephane suffered from the same cancer in 2000, 2003 and 2010, respectively. He now serves as president of the Asbestos Belgium Victims Association (ABEVA) and works diligently to raise awareness about the devastating consequences of asbestos exposure. In addition to speaking, Jonckheere will receive the Alan Reinstein Award during this year’s conference.
Patrick J. Morrison will share his story Sunday morning during the Unity and Remembrance Brunch.
Morrison served as a career firefighter for 21 years in Fairfax, Virginia, before becoming the Assistant to the General President for the Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine at the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF). The IAFF is a union representing more than 310,000 professional firefighters and paramedics across North America. His expertise is in the design and implementation of health, safety and wellness programs to improve firefighters’ overall physical and mental health. This includes addressing their medical needs and increasing protections from the hazardous elements of firefighting – which can include asbestos exposure. In addition to being a keynote speaker, Morrison will receive the Tribute of Inspiration Award during this year’s conference.
The conference boasts a lineup of presenters, all speaking on the dangers of asbestos and the illnesses it causes. Presenters include mesothelioma victims and family members, mesothelioma experts from all over the world and more. Click here to see the full list.
Simmons Hanly Conroy is proud to be a platinum sponsor of the conference for the seventh consecutive year and the longest cumulative sponsor of ADAO.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about asbestos awareness, watch the live broadcast of the conference here.